Over the past twenty years CBA has led many efforts to limit the ability of taxpayer subsidized transit operators and local school districts to operate charter service in direct competition with our industry.
We now have a Federal Charter Service Rule where, in large part, federally-supported transit agencies are not allowed to provide this type of service if registered private operators respond to third party requests for service.
In California there are state statutes governing the limited situations whereby school districts can provide charter service in school buses under narrowly defined public recreational activities. In reality we know of several school districts violating the statutes and in many cases pleading their case based largely on the employee retention argument without regard to the law.
However, CBA due diligence on the federal, state and local fronts has produced some very positive results:
- Hollywood Bowl Bus Service: For over 84 days a year private bus companies now operate 12 of 14 park and ride lots – a gain of one more lot last year. 76% of buses are privately owned. The average number of buses is 52 with over 115 operating at the peak. LAMTA will not provide any more supplemental service and Foothill Transit remains for two lots only through a private contractor.
- Rose Bowl/BCS: CBA members had more participation in contract service on January One and for championship game, 100% of the Rose Bowl shuttle buses were privately owned.
- Other Rose Bowl events like the recent U2 Concert last year were performed by CBA and other private bus companies.
- CBA recently filed a complaint against the San Francisco MTA (MUNI) and we were contacted after the complaint was filed and asked to reach an agreement with MUNI. Per the agreement, MUNI will notify CBA before a formal notification on FTA’s website when Muni is contacted to provide charter bus service. This adds another layer of protection to prevent local charter violations from happening that causes material harm to our members.
- On the school district front we have had modest successes: Gilroy Unified has backed off charter work once CBA contacted them about it; the recent AT&T Pro Am event did not use any school district buses; the Spreckels Union School District stated they will no longer provide charter service in competition with private charter companies – they want to work cooperatively with our industry in other areas.
- Paso Robles school district will require more attention. First they have dropped all wedding charters as of our meeting as few weeks ago. We are continuing to work with them on how they priced their shuttle to the annual Mid State Fair but more importantly, our face to face meeting has led the CBA board to seek a State of California Attorney General opinion on the limitations of school district charters for recreational events. There is a Legislative Counsel opinion generally favorable to our industry but we need a higher level of legal opinion to use in future meetings with school officials who continue to use school buses in providing charter services in direct competition with the private sector.